Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TEL AVIV 001397

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KMDR MEDIA REACTION REPORT
SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION


--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

Mideast

-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

Leading media (banner in Maariv) cited a U.S.
administration warning regarding the findings of the
Sasson report on illegal outposts, which says that
successive Israeli governments have violated the law
over the past 12 years. Maariv quoted Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice as saying, following her meeting
with FM Silvan Shalom Tuesday, that it is not possible
to constantly recall the Palestinians' commitments to
dismantle the infrastructure of terror, and that Israel
must abide by its own commitments and evacuate the
illegal settlements. Israel Radio reported that
Secretary Rice told FM Shalom that Israel must respect

SIPDIS
the commitments it made at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.
Jerusalem Post quoted a Shalom spokesman as saying that
Secretary Rice did not mention the Sasson report.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

SIPDIS
Shalom told Israel Radio that Israel has already
dismantled dozens of outposts and that it is in the
process of completing the process. Ha'aretz recalls
that at their last meeting, Secretary Rice told senior
Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass that President Bush
expects Jerusalem to take immediate action based on the
conclusions and recommendations of the report.
Ha'aretz reported that Shalom asked Secretary Rice that
there be no shift in the West's stance, and that she
agreed. Ha'aretz also reported that Shalom raised anew
Israel's request to cancel the American travel advisory
warning U.S. citizens not to travel to Israel, and that
Secretary Rice responded that her department would

SIPDIS
consider ways to do so.

Major media (lead story in Ha'aretz) reported that PA
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
reached an agreement last night on the handover of
security responsibility in Jericho and Tulkarm to the
Palestinians in a few days. Abbas said the PA expects
that the area to be handed over will include the
outlying villages around the cities, and not just the
cities. Mofaz said that the negotiations between the
sides must proceed cautiously and "step by step," with
the security of Israel's citizens "the uppermost
priority for us." He demanded that the Palestinians
take more action to disarm the terror groups and arrest
activists. Israel Radio quoted Jibril Rajoub, the
security adviser to Abbas, as saying that all the
Palestinian factions have agreed to a total cessation
of attacks both inside and beyond the Green Line, that
Hamas will participate in this summer's Palestinian
Legislative Council (PLC) elections, that Hamas is
prepared to integrate the PLO, and that the ball now is
in the Israeli court. The radio says that Rajoub's
message to Israel is that it has a partner. Ha'aretz
quoted Abbas as saying Tuesday that the Palestinians
would only carry out security reforms if there is
progress toward establishing a Palestinian state.

Israel Radio reported that Mofaz will visit Cairo on
Thursday upon the invitation of Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak.

Ha'aretz reported that four "rebel" Likud MKs in the
Knesset's Finance Committee may vote in favor of the
budget in the committee vote next week if their demands
for additional funding for their pet projects are met -
- and if they do so, it will remove the last obstacle
to passing the budget through the committee. For its
part, Yediot reported that the group intends to vote in
favor of the budget at the committee, but focus their
opposition in the plenum vote in late March. The
newspaper, which quoted Sharon associates as saying
that Shinui will vote in favor of the budget in the
plenum vote in order to bring about the implementation
of disengagement, cited a denial by senior Shinui
members. Jerusalem Post and other media reported that
the Likud has already begun preparing for elections
that would be held automatically if the budget does not
pass by March 31. Yediot bannered, and Israel Radio
cited, a harsh verbal attack made Tuesday on PM Sharon
by Shas party mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Rabbi Yosef
said that Sharon was "cruel" and "wicked," and
expressed his wish that Sharon receive a blow from God
and die. Rabbi Yosef's comments came after a meeting
with the settler rabbis who criticized the
disengagement plan. On the other hand, Rabbi Yosef
refused to endorse a national referendum on
disengagement. Maariv quoted Finance Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu as saying Tuesday that the Likud could split
if such a referendum not take place.

Ha'aretz quoted IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon as
saying Tuesday at a conference on Low-Intensity Warfare
that the new Palestinian leadership has made the
decision not to use terrorism as a "political tool,"
but that the PA must also reinforce the concept of one
rule in the territories. Jerusalem Post quoted him as
saying at the same venue that Israel intends to phase
out all Palestinian laborers within the next three
years "because of what has happened here in the last
four and a half years."

Ha'aretz reported that Ambassador Dan Kurtzer has
conveyed a message to the Foreign Ministry asking
Israel to stop making statements about the withdrawal
of Syrian forces from Lebanon. The newspaper says that
FM Shalom turned such a demand into the centerpiece of
his latest visit to the U.S. and that Washington
believes that such comments are detrimental to American
interests in the region. Similarly, Ha'aretz cited
the United States' displeasure with reports that Israel
is demanding that the U.S. and Europe not reduce their
pressure for a complete withdrawal of both Syrian
forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
All media reported on, and Jerusalem Post led with, a
demonstration attended by hundreds of thousands of
Lebanese in downtown Beirut Tuesday, in an overwhelming
show of power and support for Syria. The media
highlighted a speech Hizbullah leader Sheikh Nasrallah
made at the rally, in which he blasted Israel and the
U.S. Leading media quoted President Bush as saying
Tuesday: "Freedom will prevail in Lebanon."

Jerusalem Post reported that U.S. security envoy Lt.
Gen. William Ward, accompanied by a staff of nearly two
dozen, is expected to arrive within a week to begin
helping the PA reorganize its security apparatus.

Jerusalem Post cited the satisfaction of Israeli and
Jewish circles over President Bush's appointment Monday
of U/S John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the UN.

Former PM Ehud Barak was quoted as saying in an
interview with Jerusalem Post that if the security
fence is not built around the settlement blocs soon,
Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim, and the Etzion Bloc could end up
outside the country's final borders.

Israel Radio reported that security forces have defused
an explosive charge in Rafah, along the border with
Egypt. The radio also reported that a Qassam rocket
was launched at the Gaza Strip settlement of Gadid.
There were no casualties.

A senior PA security official was quoted as saying in
an interview with Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the PA
has decided to impose restrictions on preachers who
deliver Friday sermons in West Bank and Gaza mosques.
Under the new restrictions, preachers would not be able
to deliver sermons that have not been authorized by the
PA, in an effort to curb incitement.

All media reported that on Tuesday, the Fraud Squad
questioned the deputy to the CEO and the man in charge
of international private banking at Bank Hapoalim
regarding the alleged money-laundering affair. Leading
media reported that a senior official or even the head
of a CIS state (according to Israel Radio, possibly a
minister in Kazakhstan), may have maintained an account
at the bank for the purpose of laundering funds.

Maariv published the results of a Kan/Bar-Ilan
University poll conducted among 16- to 18-year-olds:
-48 percent say they are right wing; 18 percent say
they are left wing; 14 percent identify with the
political center.
-20 percent of the youngsters (13 percent of the
secular ones and 36 percent of the religious ones) say
they will refuse to evacuate settlements.
-42 percent (42 percent of the secular ones and 29
percent of the religious ones) do not want to serve in
the territories.

--------
Mideast:
--------

Summary:
--------

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv: "Since 1992, when Yitzhak
Rabin came to power, a black market in settlement
outposts has developed in Judea and Samaria [i.e. the
West Bank].... Ariel Sharon is the first prime minister
who decided to expose these things."

Labor Party Knesset Member Prof. Yuli Tamir, one of the
founders of Peace Now, wrote in Maariv: "What, of all
the things discussed by the report [on illegal settler
outpost], did Sharon not know?"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz: "If Bush sticks to
his line ... Israel will be required to leave the West
Bank and Golan Heights. The settlers understand this
and presumably so does Sharon."

Palestinian affairs correspondent and far-left
Palestinian sympathizer Amira Hass opined in Ha'aretz:
"The [separation] fence will never be completed,
because even after its construction is finished, it
will perpetuate the policy of annexation, usurpation
and severance."

Liberal op-ed writer Yigal Sarna opined in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot: "Palestine is
another planet about whose real life 99 percent of
Israelis know nothing about."

Block Quotes:
-------------

I. "End to Trailer Rule"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one
of popular, pluralist Maariv (March 9): "The Sasson
report was described Tuesday in Jerusalem as 'one of
the most important state documents written in the past
decade.' [Its author] Talia Sasson dismantled the
Israeli banana republic, one banana after another.
Since 1992, when Yitzhak Rabin came to power, a black
market in settlement outposts has developed in Judea
and Samaria [i.e. the West Bank] -- a diverse,
sophisticated, covert and efficient industry, financed
by the same government that is supposed to prevent
it.... It can be said, and rightfully so, that Ariel
Sharon was the originator and founder of this
operation.... On the other hand, Ariel Sharon is the
first prime minister who decided to expose these
things. To anchor them in a special government
document. To mark them. To show them to the world.
If this is not a sign that the man has changed his
path, there will be no other signs.... Now the ball is
in the political court.... The settlers will yet lament
the strategic historical error that drove them to stick
to every settlement outpost, to fight for every
trailer, to bring upon themselves the Sasson report and
disengagement, instead of going for a compromise with
Sharon when it was still possible, to evacuate the
settlement outposts willingly and agree to the
evacuation of three or four settlements in the Gaza
Strip. Now all that is history. As is the Sasson
report."

II. "The Real Culprit"

Labor Party Knesset Member Prof. Yuli Tamir, one of the
founders of Peace Now, wrote in Maariv (March 9): "The
Sasson report is no more than confirmation of what we
already knew. The Israeli government, knowingly and
deliberately, finances lawbreakers and generously
extends to them the economic support that it denies to
young couples, terminal patients and senior
citizens.... Only a public that is totally captivated
by the charm of disengagement is willing to look aside,
and relieve the real culprits of accountability....
What, of all the things discussed by the report, did
Sharon not know? Did he not know that the illegal
settlement outposts were flourishing? Did he not know
that the Jewish Agency's Settlement Division was
misusing its power and betraying the trust of the
Jewish people by supporting the establishment of
illegal settlement outposts, in contravention of U.S.
law?.... Did he not fund, as housing minister, the
employment of the engineers and architects who planned
the construction? Was he not, in every public position
he filled, at the forefront of the settlement activity
in the territories? In a well-ordered country, the
State Attorney's Office would be investigating the main
culprit -- the prime minister. In Israel, the prime
minister requests an objective report, comes out
sharply against himself and searches for culprits....
The settlements have exploited the State of Israel,
under Sharon's sponsorship and with his permission.
The public should decide who is accountable for this.
Let us hope it is not an unfortunate clerk who did not
hear that the prime minister suddenly changed his
tune."

III. "What's the Choice?"

Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (March 9): "The
Israeli right suffers from selective hearing. Its
people cheer when Bush calls for democracy in the Arab
world or a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. They ignore
all the clauses about Israel, even when Bush declares a
solution to the Israel-Palestinian dispute as the most
burning issue on the international agenda. They prefer
not to hear that. They forget that Israel is part of
the Middle East, and that it also has to do its part to
reshape it.... If Bush sticks to his line, and the
regimes around Israel line up with the Americans and go
through changes, Israel will be required to leave the
West Bank and Golan Heights. The settlers understand
this and presumably so does Sharon, even when he turns
right, like he did last week, promising that [the West
Bank settlements of] Hebron, Beit El and Shiloh will
remain in Israel's hands. After all, just three years
ago he was saying the exact same thing about Netzarim
[in the Gaza Strip]."

IV. "The Fence Will Never Be Completed"

Palestinian affairs correspondent and far-left
Palestinian sympathizer Amira Hass opined in Ha'aretz
(March 9): "The construction of the separation fence is
being carried out in the language of control that has
evolved here since 1947, and has not been altered even
in the years of the political negotiations at the end
of the 20th century. In Israeli propaganda, Israel is
the attacked victim, and therefore may do anything to
protect itself. There is no correlation between the
subjective feeling of the victim and Israel's objective
-- military -- power and strong international status.
The fence's route -- with or without the High Court's
kosher stamp -- clearly promotes the intentions to
annex Palestinian land. These intentions were not
stopped in 1994, with the Oslo Accords, but
accelerated.... The constructed fence is continuing in
its energetic destruction, but the fence will never be
completed, because even after its construction is
finished, it will perpetuate the policy of annexation,
usurpation and severance."

V. "The Elephant and the Cat"

Liberal op-ed writer Yigal Sarna opined in mass-
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (March 9):
"Those who tour the territories ... can understand that
Israel is one-hundredfold stronger than the
Palestinians, with enough military power to vanquish
eight Palestines.... Those who tour the territories
without official escorts understand the deceit behind
Mofaz's descriptions of the Palestinian Authority as
cunning, strong ... plotting, and in control of the
situation and of a Palestinian nation that
mischievously refuses to grant us a proper response to
our painful concessions.... Palestine is another planet
about whose real life 99 percent of Israelis know
nothing about.... Israelis do not want to know about
... a huge prison where even the safety and stability
of a normal jail do not apply.... Israelis do not want
to know that the army prevents even passable
Palestinian government -- a government that does not
rule by itself and does not assume any
responsibility.... Its elected chairman, who is devoid
of authority ... quite flimsily rules under Shin Bet
supervision."

KURTZER

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.